PART I:  1865-1880

The earliest surviving run of newspapers from Barry County begins in the 1890s, but earlier Barry County items survive in other newspapers.  Here are stories of crime and punishment from Barry County and its vicinity, transcribed from microfilm available through the State Historical Society of Missouri.  The Society has begun a project to digitize its microfilm of Missouri's historical newspapers, and images of some of the original articles may be available online.  Ad images are from the Society's microfilm, either scanned from a paper copy or clipped from the online digital image.

In transcribing the articles, I have occasionally corrected minor spelling errors.  I find the errors distracting when I am reading and find annoying the constant use of "sic" to indicate the error was in the original.  It is also time consuming to sort out their typesetting errors from my typing errors.  It is easier just to correct them all.  I have not corrected proper names, and I have generally kept the original article's eccentricities of capitalization and punctuation.

Highlights of the transcribed articles include:  

10 January 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A Correction.

Editors Patriot:   I wish through the columns of your paper to correct an impression on the mind of the public in regard to the shooting of Sparkman and Davis, in Keetsville, Barry county.  The shooting was not caused, as stated, by one of the boys enrolling, but originated at a party several nights before.

For the truth of the assertion that the enrollment of the militia was peacebly conducted, with alacrity on the part of the citizens of Keetsville and vicinity, I refer to Lieut. Horine, enrolling officer. Yours truly,

J. R. Smith


In 1866, all able-bodied Missouri men between the ages of 18 and 45 were required to enroll in a state militia.  The Barry County enrolling officer was Elias Horine.  In Sugar Creek Township, where Keetsville was located, 155 men were enrolled -- according to the roster, "all rebels but the lieutenant."  I have not found additional information on the shooting of Sparkman and Davis.  J. R. Smith was the propietor of the Keetsville Hotel, whose ad appeared in the same newspaper.  Note the reference to the stagecoach schedule.  Keetsville was an early name for the town of Washburn.  Its name was formally changed by the county court in the spring of 1868.  Click on the image for a larger view.

30 May 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

One of the Suspected Murderers
in Custody.

Last Friday evening about 9 o'clock, the usual quiet of our City was broken by the ringing of the bell at the Lyon House and at first most supposed, for fire -- but soon the news spread like wildfire, that a man had been shot down while engaged in his business in his shop on Boonville Street.  Instantly crowds were hurrying to the bloody scene.  When we arrived at the spot we found a man named Hiram C. Christian laid on the counter, dead, shot through the head by a bloodthirsty assassin, in cold blood.  A large pool of blood was on the floor behind the counter.  The ghastly scene was witnessed by hundreds and as soon as comprehended by them, the next thought was, who did it?  Parties were instantly organized by Mayor Owen and Esquire Vangueder, ably assisted by our citizens and some forty men were mounted and started in every direction.

From the small clue as to who were the murderers it looked like a hopeless attempt, almost, but "where there is a will, there is a way," and the attempt was made.  The only thing known was, that two men who were strangers had been seen in the shop a few minutes before the shot was heard, one tall man with dark clothes and the other of middling size with light clothes and light hat.

The murdered man was named Hiram C. Christian, formerly from Texas.  From the evidence adduced before the Coroner at the inquest the next day, it appears he was living in Bell County, Texas, at the breaking out of the war, being a Union man he left that country and went to Tennessee, where he remained until after the surrender when he returned to Bell county, and was appointed Provost Marshal by Gen. A. J. Hamilton, Provisional Governor of Texas, a commission as such being found among his papers.  He remained in that section until last Fall, when deeming his life in danger he left Texas in company with a man named Bishop, who settled in Arkansas and he came on to Springfield.  Some four weeks since Mr. Bishop saw two men lurking around in his neighborhood making inquiries for Judge Christian (the name he was familiarly known by in Texas), his present whereabouts, &c., and thinking there was danger to him, wrote to Springfield to the deceased, to take care of himself and keep a look out as two men were coming from Texas to kill him.  Nothing more was heard from them until last Friday evening when two men were seen to go into the meat shop of Messrs. Bolen & Buck, where Judge Christian was employed, and in a few minutes a shot was heard and on entering the shop Christian was found dead, weltering in his blood.  The shot had taken effect in his head just above the left ear, passing through the head and striking the bone glanced down into the cartoid artery, causing profuse bleeding from the ear and nose.  Instantly all was excitement, men hurrying to and from the scene with blanched cheeks and clenched teeth, determined that the murderers should be brought to justice.

Mayor Owen instantly issued hand bills, offering a reward of $250 for the arrest of the murderers, squads of mounted men were sent out on every road leading from the City and a patrol was sent on foot to examine all through the town and outskirts.

As the murderers were leaving the scene of their bloody deed, Mr. Pat Daly and his brother were going home and Pat called to them to halt, when one of them fired at him and he being unarmed, made no further attempt to stop them, but hastened to the shop and gave the alarm.  This was the first clue, together with the imperfect description that he could give of the men, that was furnished for their detection. -- Several persons had seen two strangers in and near the shop, which was all the information that could be obtained.

All day Saturday excited groups of our citizens were congregated in and around the Court House discussing the bloody tragedy, and various rumors were afloat in regard to the arrest of the assassins.  About 3 o'clock word was brought in that one of them had been arrested and that they were in close pursuit of the other, and about 9 o'clock he was brought in, guarded by Col. Geiger, and Messrs. Myers and Long, who, with Col. Creighton had captured him near Marionville, in Lawrence County.  Col. Creighton had went ahead or become detached from the rest and was at the residence of Mr. Logan, when he saw a man riding a fine gray horse, he asked Mr. Logan who he was, when he replied he did not know, but on getting a closer view of him, he said he was one of the men he (Creighton) was in search of.  The man came up at the call of Mr. Logan with his pistol in his hand and lying across the pommel of his saddle.  Col. Creighton had some talk with him and getting in his rear drew his revolver and fired at him but missed, when the man instantly turned in his saddle and fired at Creighton and started off at full speed, Creighton firing again with the like unfortunate result.  The man being mounted on a very fast animal escaped, and was soon out of sight.

Col. Creighton aroused the citizens of the surrounding country and started them in pursuit, but up to the present writing it has been unsuccessful, although a report was brought in on Tuesday that he had left his horse and was wandering around lost in the brush between the Marionville and Wire roads and he will in all probability be captured.

On Sunday morning at 10 o'clock the funeral of the murdered man took place in front of the Court House.  Rev. Mr. Bentley, of the Methodist Church, made a few eloquent remarks, touching the character of the deceased, his family, &c., closing with an appeal to the Most High, for the soul of the deceased and the comforting of his family in this great affliction.  The corpse was followed to the grave by a large number of our citizens.

Monday morning at 9 o'clock the examination of the prisoner who had been captured, who gave his name as James or James W. Thompson, was to have been commenced, but the prisoner having stated that he was unable to procure council (sic), the court assigned Hon. John S. Phelps, and he requested that it be postponed until Tuesday.

Through the day, several irresponsible parties had talked about lynching the prisoner, and Mayor Owen deeming there was some danger, called a meeting of citizens at the Court House at 7 o'clock, and about thirty or forty met in the rain.  Mayor Owen and Col. Creighton addressed them and some twenty-five volunteered to guard the jail during the night, which was done, but no attempt was made.  It speaks well for our City, that its citizens are of that law-abiding class who let the law take its course and not take it into their own hands.

The prisoner Thompson, is the same man who escaped some time since from the jail at Carthage, where he was confined for passing counterfeit money.  He is stated to have been a bushwhacker during the War, and a brother-in-law of Joe Peevey, who had a gang of bushwhackers in the early part of the War in Barry county.  There is nothing particularly bad-looking about his countenance, but he has a cold, firm blue eye, which betokens firmness enough to do anything he had made up his mind to do.

On Wednesday monring the examination of the prisoner was commenced, before Esquires Vangeuder and Matthews. The prosecution is conducted by Messrs. Creighton, Geiger and Mack; the defense by Hon. John S. Phelps. There are some thirty witnesses and the trial has not yet been concluded, so that we cannot give the result.


This murder happened in Springfield, but the killer John Thompson was from Barry County and linked to Joe Peevy, who was an important Civil War figure there.  Thompson probably rode with his brother-in-law during the war.  After the Christian killing, he escaped from custody in Springfield twice.  The first time he was recaptured.  The second time he made it to Texas, which was his misfortune.  There he commited another murder and was hanged at Sherman in 1869.  Before he died, he confessed, "While the war was going on, I was with a very wicked company, and I did many things along with my comrades that I ought not have done."  Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield, August 26, 1869.

For more on Joe Peevy and his gang, see this 1863 account by Lt. Col. A. W. Bishop (Union).  Also, here is an 1863 report written by Peevy himself with biographical notes.

The Christian murder received extensive newspaper coverage in Springfield, of which the above article is a small sample.  The Missouri Weekly Patriot had stories May 30 (the Christian murder), June 6 (testimony from the preliminary hearing), July 4 (1st Springfield escape) and October 24 &31, 1867 (2nd escape), and August 26, 1869 (Texas hanging).  The Leader had additional stories on May 30 and July 4, 1867.  It also had an earlier account of Thompson's escape from Jasper county on counterfeiting charges, April 25, 1867.  These stories are all available online at the State Historical Society's Missouri Digital Newspaper Project.

11 July 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A dead man with several bullet holes through him was found in this county near the Arkansaw (sic) line, last Thursday; supposed to be a horse thief "on leave of absence" -- Cassville Republican.

3 October 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

MURDER. -- A young man named Mullin, the son of a widow lady living in the northeast part of this county, deliberately shot and fatally wounded his own sister, a girl about 17 years of age, last Saturday evening.

It appears that Mullin was on too intimate terms with a woman in the neighborhood, of doubtful character, and was preparing to visit her on the evening in question.  His sister divining his intention, endeavored to dissuade him from going and upbraided him for his shameful conduct, whereupon he became enraged, drew a pistol and deliberately shot her through the body, inflicting a mortal wound from which she died the following evening.  Mullin escaped and is still at large. -- Cassville Republican.

3 October 1867, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

Last Wednesday night the stage from Fort Smith was attacked by a band of robbers about six miles this side of Evansville in Arkansas, and the driver killed.  Owing to the gallant defence of driver and passengers, the mail was not robbed.  It is said that the driver killed one of the villains after he had received his death wound. -- Cassville Republican.

3 October 1867, Springfield Leader

PASSENGER STAGE ATTACKED BY ROBBERS -- DRIVER SHOT. -- On the 17th, about 2 o'clock, the passenger stage of Tuller & Parker was attacked by a band of robbers, five miles beyond Evansville, Washington county, on its way to this place.  The robbers stopped the stage and demanded the mail bags, and were told there were none -- the driver being armed with a revolver, resisted, and was shot through the fleshy part of the left thigh.  He fired three or four shots at them, and one of the robbers was shot.  The stage came on to Evansville, where the wounded driver was taken care of.  Col. Jones, on learning these facts, sent orders to the commanding officer at Fayetteville, to take immediate steps to arrest the robbers.  It is supposed the villians were on the lookout for passengers who had money. -- Ft. Smith (Ark.) Standard, 22d ult.


Tuller & Parker ran the stage lines outs of Springfield, Missouri.  This robbery occurred in Arkansas, but apparently involved the stage that ran the Wire Road from Springfield through Cassville to Fayetteville and Fort Smith.  The image is from the Springfield Leader of May 16,1867.  Click on the image for a larger view.

13 February 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

We are informed by private letter, dated the 7th inst., that a man by the name of Wm. Bussell was shot and killed, by the Sheriff's posse about sixteen miles south of Cassville, Barry County, on the Bentonville, Ark., road, on that day.  Bussell had been indicted for selling liquor, and the Sheriff and posse went to his house to arrest him, but he was not at home.  They left, and had not traveled far when they met him in the road.  As soon as he saw them he commenced shooting, when they returned the fire and killed him.  He was placed in a wagon and taken home.  He had at one time been under arrest at Cassville, but escaped.

9 April 1868, Springfield Leader

A friend in Barry county writes us from Keetsville, that on Thursday night last, 3d inst., a gentleman from Van Buren, Ark., named Bostick, arrived at that place in search of some thieves.  Mr. Bostick had pursued the thieves to within a short distance of Keetsville, where they eluded him.  He started back with some friends, and after traveling a mile and a half met two men riding the stolen horses.  The thieves were ordered to halt, but refused, when the pursuing party commenced firing, and mortally wounded one of the thieves, who gave his name as Frost, and the other who escaped, is named Rice, and both live at Chillicothe, Mo.

16 April 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A party from Van Buren, Ark., pursued and overtook, on the night of the 2d inst., at Washburn, in this county, a couple of horse thieves, and succeeded in capturing one of them and three horses.  Both thieves were wounded, and the one captured is in a critical condition.  He gives his name as Daniel Frost; says he lives in Ray county; has acknowledged to stealing the horses from a Mr. Brown, near Van Buren, Ark.  The other thief escaped in the direction of Pineville.  His name is said to be John Rice, resident of Chillicothe, Mo. -- Cassville Banner.

30 April 1868, Fountain & Journal, Mt. Vernon

The horse-thief, wounded near Keetsville a few days since, so far recovered that he took French leave on the 8th inst.  It seems he recovered very rapidly from a wound through the bowels, so as to be able to leave in three or four days.  Perhaps the superior treatment of the attendant surgeon may have been the cause, as we understand one of them said, one or two days before the thief left, that he collected his bill as fast as made, so that there would be no risk.  We hope to see the time when lawlessness will not be tolerated, but that the law may be enforced and bad men punished.  If those who pursued the thief had used the amount of caution which prudence would have dictated, a guard whould have been placed over him and he kept safe till he could have been taken to Van Buren to answer for his crimes.  He claimed that women were connected with the matter.

Since writing the above, the thief has turned up in the edge of Arkansas.  He sent a message to Dr. Legg at Washburn, asking him to pay him private visits.  The Doctor refused.  On Saturday a company from Van Buren went out to try to find him.  It appears now that this man was rasied near where he is at present harbored, and has no residence in Ray county.

9 April 1868, Springfield Leader

We learn that a shooting affray took place in Galena, Stone county, on Friday, March, 27th, between Mr. Edington, the county attorney, [and] Mr. Davis, deputy Sheriff.  The difficulty grew out of charges made by Mr. Edington that Mr. Sheriff Gipson was not robbed last winter when he was going to Jefferson City with the revenue, but that Gipson divided the money among his friends and then reported that he had been robbed.  Several shots were fired but "nobody hurt."

16 April 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A shooting affray occurred at Galena, Stone county, last week, between S. M. Davis and Dr. Edgerton, in which the first named struck the Doctor, who then fired two shots at Mr. Davis without effect.  Davis meantime, snappped his pistol twice, when the Doctor betook himself to flight.  Another attempt at firing by Davis succeeded, the ball shivering the butt of the Doctor's pistol, and slightly injuring the hand in which he held it.  The Doctor now sought refuge in a house, but curiosity getting the better part of him, he put his head out at a window, when his indefatigable (sic) antagonist again fired at him, the ball entering the window frame in close proximity to his head.  The Doctor's curiosity being satisfied, he quickly "hauled in."  Dr. E. has since left the country. -- Cassville Banner.

7 May 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

HOMICIDE IN BARRY COUNTY -- On Thursday last, about seven miles down Flat creek, below Cassville, Wm C. Wade shot and killed Alexander Jackson, late of Greene county.  The difficulty arose about a tract of land, each claiming to have a right to the land, and Jackson was about removing a small corn crib off the premises, when Wade came out with his rifle and shot Jackson, who immediately expired.  Wade waives an examination and is now out on a $3,000 bond for his appearance at the next term of Circuit Court -- Cassville Banner.

14 May 1868, Fountain & Journal, Mt. Vernon

(From the Banner.)

When the present [county] court went into power this county was largely in debt and our court house was badly out of repair, we had no jail, and by clear study of economy, they have repaired the court house, and built a good substantial jail, which is a building composed of heavy, square oak timbers, neatly weatherboarded and painted on the outside, the inside is as well arranged as could be expected at the cost of the building.  It will cost any one considerable trouble to get out of this house.

4 June 1868, Fountain & Journal, Mt. Vernon

(From the Banner.)

Fatal Affray

By Robert Man and Daniel H. Howery on Saturday evening last, near the McMurty Spring, about 2 1-2 miles South of this place.  Man and Howery had been to Cassville on some business, and had procured some whisky, and started home late in the evening, both seemed somewhat intoxicated.  It seems that they got into a quarrel about running a horse race, and stopped near the Spring, where some movers were camped and wanted to stake the money with the movers who declined to receive it, after some hard words had passed, Man and Howery clinched and Howery succeeded in throwing Man down when a son of Howery's interfered, and Howery let Man up and said he would thrash his son, and while Howery was after his son, Man struck Howery on the back of his head with an axe, and knocked him down and struck him again afer he was down, and stumbled over him and fell, while Man was in the act of getting up, young Howery shot him four times, each shot taking effect in his leg and thighs, Man then went and sat down on a wagon tongue, near, saying to young Howery that he was killed, one of the movers then requested him to go away from the women -- Man then got up and went to his mule about five paces off, young Howery then went within about one pace of him and presenting his pistol at Man's breast, fired, the shot ranging toward the left shoulder entering the cavity of the chest, Man steped one step forward and fell dead.

The body of Man remained where it fell, all night, and on Sunday morning E. W. Smith, Esq. proceeded to hold an inquest on the body.  The verdict of the jury was that Man came to his death by a pistol shot fired by Henry Howery, in defense of his father.  Old Howery was still alive on Sunday morning, and was taken to his home near Washburne.  Man was a blacksmith at Washburn, and leaves a wife and several small children.

This is the effect of whisky, and it is well known that there is not a grog shop in the whole county, yet whisky is bought and drank, and he who deals out this poison is not guiltless, for the blood of the slain cries to God and an outraged community, yet a few dollars look larger in some men's eyes and more valuable than the life, health and well being of community.  We hope the next Grand Jury will speedily bring rum sellers to grief.

Since writing the above we learn that D. H. Howery is dead.

23 July 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

ROW AT GADFLY. -- Last Saturday was Esquire Miller's law day, and a large crowd was drawn out, which collected in Mr. Blankenship's mill, when a row commenced.  Knives and pistols were shown in profusion, but luckily not used.  Esqr. Miller hearing of the row proceeded to command the peace.  The crowd paying no attention to him, some one suggested to him that he had done his duty and to let them alone.  He replied, "no, by G-d I'll settle them," and proceeded to pick them up one at a time, rather hurriedly and shake the fight out of them, (the Squire is about six feet four, and large in proportion,) and soon had peace established.  Later in the day Thomas Burns and Wm. Kelly had a fisticuff, resulting not seriously to either party.  There were about 50 men engaged in the first row. -- Cassville Banner.

6 August 1868, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A CASE, brought from Barry county on a change of venue, was tried in the circuit court last week, that attracted more than usual interest.  The defendant was indicted for robbery.  It was charged that some time in 1861, in connection with a company of bushwhackers, he participated in a raid upon the property of J. B. Muncy, a Union man of that county, taking a horse and other property.  The jury found the defendant guilty, and fixed his term in the penitentiary at five years.  A motion for a new trial was denied, and the case appealed to the Supreme Court.

1 April 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

AFFRAY -- An affray occurred at Gad Fly last Thursday evening, in which both parties were seriously wounded.

We learn the particulars of the affray from reliable gentlemen, who state them as follows:  It seems that ill feeling existed between Marion Fly and B. F. Hardcastle, Fly's son-in-law.  On Tuesday evening Hardcastle, who lives but a few steps from the residence of his father-in-law, went up there, his wife having previously gone there.  Immediately after he entered the doors were locked and hard words passed.  Fly fired at him with a shot gun, inflicting a severe wound in his right shoulder, fracturing the bone very severely.  Fly then discharged the other barrel of his gun, but missed Hardcastle.  Fly then shot H. in the leg with a revolver.   Fly then continued hostilities with an axe, inflicting several severe cuts on his head, but none serious.  During the fight Fly received a shot through the hand, inflicting a severe wound.  It is not known whether Fly shot himself or was shot by Hardcastle.  The doors were finally opened and both Fly and Hardcastle left the house.  Both will recover from their wounds.  We learn they are in custody.

Later. -- Fly and his wife and daughter (Hardcastle's wife) are all bound for their appearance at the next term of the circuit court -- Cassville Banner.

8 April 1869, Springfield Leader

The Neosho Tribune of the 31st ult., says a free fight occurred in the western edge of Barry county, recently.  Marion Fly and his son-in-law, Doc Hardcastle, had some difficulty in regard to domestic affairs.  The wife of Mr. Hardcastle, after some trouble at home, repaired to the house of her father, near by.  Mr. Fly locked the door.  Soon Mr. H. came to the house and tried the door, and was finally admitted.  In the room were Mr. Fly and wife and Mr. Hardcastle and wife.  Mr. H. tried to force his wife out of the house, where upon Mrs. Fly locked the door.  A pistol, shot gun, axe and chairs were brought into lively action, and a general melee ensued, in which Mr. F. received a bullet through the hand, grazing the arm, and entering the body just above the heart.  Mr. Hardcastle received a full load of shot in the right arm, just below the shoulder, shattering it several inches.  Several gashes appear upon his head, which were probably inflicted by the axe and chairs.  Both will probably recover.  Hardcastle may lose his arm.  Two men and two women locked up in a room with fight on the brain, and tools to execute, may be considered a dangerous state of affairs.  Each of the men have filed complaints against the other, and both are under arrest.  The law seems to have the worst of it in this case.

2 December 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

Two weeks ago we mentioned that Mr. Wheeling Combs' house was burned by an incendiary.  A chain of circumstances pointed to James Albert Biggs as the fellow who did it.  On Friday night the 12th ult., he was arrested near this place and brought to town next morning and lodged in jail.  Mr. Combs swore out a warrant for the purpose of searching the house of one G. W. Dickinson, who lives on Flat Creek, at whose house a portion of the missing goods were found; but Dickinson is not considered guilty of concealing the goods, and will not, we understand, be arrested, as Biggs misrepresented the facts in the case to Dickinson.

There is but little doubt but Biggs and others robbed the house and then set fire to it.  A preliminary trial was commenced before E. W. Smith last Friday week ago, in which the State of Missouri was plaintiff, and James Albert Biggs was defendant.  Joe Cravens appeared on the part of the State, and W. Cloud for the defendant.  On Saturday the trial was adjourned until last Wednesday, when the case was again resumed and continued two days and part of one night.  Biggs was committed to jail in default of bond of two thousand dollars.

It is said that Biggs had committed several crimes about Lebanon. -- Cassville Banner.

9 December 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

John Carney, Jr., and his Wife Mur-
dered in their own House!
Suspicion as to the Guilty Parties.

We have a few particulars of one of the most horrible and fiendish murders that has occurred in this part of the country for many years, which took place last Saturday evening on Flat Creek, in Barry County.  The victims of the foul assassination were John Carney, Jr., and his wife; both young persons of excellent character and standing in the community where they resided.  Carney was engaged in selling goods for Robbertson & Mason of this city, who have a store at that place.

Late in the evening of Saturday some movers camped not far from the store, went to the house for some matches, and upon entering discovered Carney and his wife lying dead upon the floor, both having been shot.  Carney and his wife lived in a room at the rear end of the store room, and it was there that they were murdered.  Nothing about the store had been disturbed, and it was clear that the murder had been perpetrated not in an attempt to commit a robbery, but to gratify a brutal hate and desire for revenge.  But who could have stolen into the quiet home of this young family, at the dead hour of night and committed so terrible a deed of blood.  It was not done in the heat of passion but coolly and deliberately when the fiend was certain that no human eye was upon him and when his victims were unconscious of the presence of the assassin who was thirsting for their blood.  And why should the wife be slaughtered?  Who had she wronged? and what harm could her life be to anybody that it should be taken in this dark, mysterious manner?  There were thoughts that doubtless entered the minds of those who first beheld the murderer's work.  But fortunately such deeds are hard to cover up, and suspicion seems to point unerringly to the guilty wretch.  On Saturday, Mr. Carney had had a dispute with a man by the name of Moore, in which the latter became very violent, and finally drew his revolver upon Carney, but was prevented from shooting.  Late in the evening he was seen lurking in the vicinity armed with a revolver, but his evil intent seems not to have been suspicioned.  It was two or three hours after Moore was last seen near the store that Carney and his wife were found dead in their room.

These are all the particulars we have of this terrible affair.  Mr. Mason, of the firm of Robbertson & Mason, has gone to the place of the murder to take care of his store, and on his return we shall be able to obtain a full account of the affair.

Since the above was written, we learn that Moore was pursued and arrested in Arkansas.  Upon his person about $250 were found that he had stolen from the store, and also Carney's pistol.  The hat he had on on Saturday evening when seen near Carney's, was found in the room where the murder was committed.

16 December 1869, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

Summary Execution of the Murderer
on the Public Square in Cassville,
by the Exasperated Citizens

Our account of the murder of Jackson Carney and his wife, published last week, was in many particulars incorrect.  From Mr. Mason, of the firm of Robertson & Mason, of this city, who returned a day or two since from the neighborhood where the crime was committed, we have obtained all the facts, and are now able to give them in a reliable form.

The murder took place about dark on Saturday evening, but was not discovered until Sunday afternoon, when a citizen of the vicinity called at the store for a package of goods purchased the day previous.  The door was not fastened, and on entering, Carney was found lying dead on the floor.  He had been shot twice, both balls having entered his head near his mouth, from the effect of which death had evidently ensued immediately.

. . . . close to her person when the shot was fired that her clothing took fire, and was entirely consumed down to her waist. [The first part of this paragraph is missing in the microfilmed newspaper.]

Carney was a young man about twenty-one years of age, and of more than ordinary capacity and intelligence, and gave promise of a life of usefulness and prominence among his fellow citizens.  His habits were unexceptionable, and his kindness of heart and genial disposition made him a favorite with all who knew him.  He had been married about ten months, and his wife shared with him the love and esteem of all their neighbors and acquaintances.  Their murder very naturally created intense indignation and excitement all over that section of the country.  And it was only necessary that the author of the crime should be discovered to become the object of fearful and summary justice.

Suspicion of the foul deed pointed to George Moore, and word was sent to Sheriff Moore, at Cassville, to arrest him if he should be found lurking in that vicinity.  And on Monday the Sheriff effected his arrest about a mile and a half South of Cassville, and lodged him in the county jail.  The evidences of his guilt were clear, and left no room for doubt.  He had spent a considerable portion of the day lounging about Carney's store, and was seen there about sun-down in the evening.  He was wearing, when arrested, the hat of his murdered victim., and had his revolver strapped around him, while his own hat and one of his pistols were found in the store where the atrocious deed was committed.  On his person $201 were found taken from the store.  This money was found, a little of it in each of his pockets, some in the linings of his pants, coat, and vest, and here and there a bill pinned fast to the inside of his clothing.  A few minutes after he was last seen at Carney's -- between sun-down and dark -- three pistol shots were heard in the direction of the store, by a neighbor who resides about a quarter mile distant.  Two hours later, Moore called for lodging for the night at a house about nine miles from the store, in the direction of Cassville, and remained there over night.  On Sunday he attended church at Horner's school house, near Cassville, and on Monday was arrested as before stated.

On Wednesday [sic] evening the engraged friends and relatives of the deceased, says the Cassville Banner, combined for the purpose of taking the prisoner out of jail and executing him, and the Sheriff only saved him that night by secretly conveying him to the country.  On Tuesday, perhaps two hundred men gathered from the vicinity of the crime, and again made the attempt to secure possession of the prisoner.  With drawn revolvers, they demanded the keys of the jail from the Sheriff, and he was compelled to deliver them up.  The prisoner was brought out and placed upon a pile of goods boxes, with a rope around his neck, one end of which was fastened to the upper end of a tall post which stands upon the public square, and upon which a large bell is suspended.  The boxes were suddenly jerked from beneath the prisoner, and he was left dangling in the air.  This occurred about eleven o'clock in the forenoon, and at dark the body was still hanging.  What disposition was finally made of it we have not learned.

From the account published by the Cassville Banner, of the affair, we take the following with reference to the hanging of Moore:

When these circumstances all came to light, on Monday evening, while Moore was in jail, some of the relatives and friends of the deceased combined for the purpose of taking the prisoner out of jail and executing him, and the Sheriff only saved him Monday night by secretly taking the prisoner out of jail and running him to the country.

The deceased were buried on Tuesday, and on Wednesday some one hundred or more citizens came into town about noon, as was understood by the Sheriff for the purpose of hearing the trial, many of them being witnesses, balance generally friends and relatives, and before the Sheriff was aware of it, (having been assured that the prisoner was to have a trial) he was surrounded, and the keys of the jail demanded, at the same time enforcing their demand by presenting revolvers, and no denial would be received, was the word.

The Sheriff knew he had to encounter an enraged and an injured, deeply injured people, and that they meant what they said, and gave them the keys, and in about five or ten minutes this man, Geo. Moore, could be seen dangling the air, suspended to a rope.  But before he was hung he was given a few minutes to say what he desired.  He denied the authorship of the atrocious deed, but it is generally believed he did not think that they would hang him.  But they did, and Geo. Moore is no more.

Moore and Carney are about the same age, were both raised in the neighborhood where the murder was committed, and have been acquainted from childhood.  About a year ago Moore robbed an old man in the neighborhood, and immediately fled to Arkansas, where his mother resides.  He was employed upon a job of work at John Carney's (the father of Jackson Carney) and while there was sent home by Carney, with an old man who, from the effect of liquor, was not in a condition to be trusted alone with his team.  While going home with the old man Moore robbed him and then fled.  Nothing was afterwards heard of him until a few days before the murder, when he made his appearance at Gadfly, in Barry county.  He remained there two or three days, and then left, going directly to Carney's store, where he arrived on Saturday about eleven o'clock.  He exhibited a great deal of pleasure at meeting Carney, and during the day made himself very familiar with him -- more familiar than seemed agreeable to Carney -- but as the latter had no suspicion of any evil purposes on the part of Moore, he treated him with the considerations due to an old friend, even accepting his banters for a scuffle.  And thus the day passed, with every appearance of friendship between the two young men.  But scarcely had the sun gone down, and the last of the days visitors left the store, when Moore threw off his disguise, and enacted the bloody and heartless crime we have related.

The taking of the law out of the hands of those legally authorized to execute it, is always to be regretted, and is a dangerous practice; but in a case like this we can easily excuse the anger and indignation which hurried this impious wretch to a swift and merited vengeance.

16 December 1869, Springfield Leader


Last week we briefly alluded to the rumor that John Carney and his wife had been murdered by an assassin.  The truth of the sad story is confirmed by the following account which we take from the Cassville Banner of Saturday 11th:

On last Monday morning the painful news reached this place that Jack Carney, (son of Judge Carney) and his wife, had been foully and cruelly murdered.  It appears that Jack Carney had charge of a country store in this county, about 18 or 20 miles southeast of Cassville.  That on Saturday evening a young man named George Moore, who was well acquainted with Carney, and who had very recently returned to this country from Texas, or some where in South Arkansas, came to the store of Carney, and made himself quite familiar, having two revolvers, belted around him and a one-barreled pistol besides, and in the evening late when one of Carney's customers left the store, there was no one left there but this man George Moore, Carney and Carney's wife.  Nothing was known further until some time in the day on Sunday when a neighbor on passing the store saw signs of blood, and not seeing anything of Carney or his wife, on meeting another neighbor related to him that he suppposed something was wrong, and the two went to the store and upon going in (the door not being fastened) found Carney and his wife both lying dead, having been shot some time as appeared.  The ball had entered the front part of Carney's neck, and he seemed to have died instantly.  He appeared to have had an armful of wood, which he had got ito the store room, and had not discharged.  Mrs. Carney was shot in the adjoining room to the store, being the room in which she did her cooking.  She fell near the door between the two rooms, her head falling from the door, the ball taking effect under her chin, and ranging back, and her death appeared to be sudden also.

Carney and his wife had only been married about ten months, and had no children.  No young man stood higher in the estimation of his acquaintances than Jack Carney, and it is believed he had not an enemy anywhere.  He gave promise of usefulness and was an intelligent business man.  But alas how uncertain is all human calculation.

Immediately upon the announcement of the murder, the community in that part of the county was aroused, and suspicion of the foul deed was fastened upon this man Moore, and on Monday morning Capt. John H. Moore, sheriff, arrested this young man Moore near this place.  On search of his person it was found he had Carney's revolver, and was also wearing Carney's hat, and $201 in currency was found on his person.  It was afterwards ascertained that one of Moore's pistols was left at the store where the murder was committed, stained with blood and his own hat was there and evidences that the store had been robbed of all the money there except some small change and one or two bills, perhaps $10 or $20.

It is thought by Judge Carney for whom his son was doing buisness that there should have been $400 or $500.

When these circumstances all came to light on Monday evening, while Moore was in jail some of the relatives and friends of the deceased combined for the purpose of taking the prisoner out of jail and executing him, and the sheriff only saved him Monday night by secretly taking the prisoner out of jail and running him to the country.

The deceased were buried Tuesday, and on Wednesday some one hundred or more citizens came into town about noon, as was understood by the sheriff for the purpose of hearing the trial, many of them being witnesses, balance generally friends, and relatives, and before the sheriff was aware of it (having been assured that the prisoner was to have a trial) he was surrounded, and the keys of the jail demanded, at the same time enforcing their demand by presenting revolvers, and no denial would be received, was the word.

The sheriff knew he had to encounter an enraged and an injured, deeply injured people, and that they meant what they said, and gave them the keys, and in about five or ten minutes this man, Geo. Moore, could be seen dangling the air, suspended to a rope.  But before he was hung he was given a few minutes to say what he desired.  He denied the authorship of the atrocious deed, but it is generally believed he did not think they would hang him.  But they did, and Geo. Moore is no more.

Without attempting to comment on this sad affair, it is but just to say that there exists no doubt in the minds of any we heard express themselves, that he was guilty -- extremely guilty.

19 May 1870, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

A FIENDISH OUTRAGE. -- Last Saturday a fellow named James Skelton, attempted, near Washburn, to violate the person of a girl about twelve years old.  She is an orphan girl, and was traveling the public road when she came in contact with the fiend, who seized her and dragged her from the road and would, no doubt, have accomplished his hellish design, had not the screams of the girl attracted other persons to the spot who rescued her.  He has not yet been arrested. -- Barry County Banner.

22 September 1870, Neosho Times

A letter from Bentonville, Ark., of the 5th Sept. says:

The celebrated Jim Ingram was shot and killed, on Sunday last, while in church, during service, by a boy 17 or 18 years old, by the name of Stone, whose father Ingram is said to have killed during the war.

17 November 1870, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

Jim Ingram Killed

We learn from good authority, that the notorious brigand and bushwhacker, Jim Ingram, of Arkansas, was shot and killed by a young man named Stone.  During the war, in 1864, Ingram had command of a company of desperadoes who murdered and plundered Union men indiscriminately; and while on one of these excursions he called at the residence of Mr. Stone, Sr., called him to the door and shot him dead.  Young Stone, then aged thirteen years, told Ingram that he would kill him when he grew to be a man.  At the close of the war Ingram moved to Texas, where he remained until a few days previous to his death.  Young Stone proved true to this promise, -- shooting Ingram the first meeting after his return from Texas. -- Cassville Banner.


In Loyalty on the Frontier Or Sketches of Union Men of the South-West (1863), A. W. Bishop describes Jim "Ingraham" as the leader of a notorious band of bushwhackers infesting Benton and Washington counties in Arkansas.  The entire text of the book, which mentions Ingraham several times and is searchable, is online here.

13 July 1871, Neosho Times

On Saturday evening last we had a little ruffle in our usually quiet town arising out of the habits of low-bred and ungallant men of making scurrilous and wanton remarks about women, without regard to character or standing.

A resident male citizen of this vicinity was charged by a certain female resident of our town with spreading slanderous words against her fair name; and in order to avenge herself, she sought the slanderer with a loaded gun, intending then and there to treat him to a charge of powder and lead.  He learned her design, slid out from his hiding place and made tracks, thereby escaping the vengeance of the Amazonian.  We are not favorably disposed to that mode of doing things, but when a man so far forgets his duties to women as to attempt to defame her by using low, scurrilous, foulmouthed language about any female who is not a public courtesan we are inclined to think he ought to be chastised by the hand of the injured woman, in order that he may be thereby signally disgraced, and pointed at as one beneath the respect of decent society. -- Cassville Democrat

12 October 1871, Neosho Times

VIGILANCE COMMITTEE. -- It is reported that Aleck King was hung by a vigilance committee, near Washburn, Barry county, last week.


Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County says this report was false, reprint, page 72.  The King name shows up in several violent scrapes around Washburn in this era.  See John King here and here.  See Jesse King here

3 March 1872, Carthage Banner

A brutal murder occurred in Barry county a few days since.  A man by the name of Hensley was killed by shots from a party composed of McCalloch and two men by the name of Barnes -- who have since fled.

5 May 1872, Carthage Banner

Barnes and McCulley who were implicated in a murder committed in Barry county last February, were recently arrested.

4 April 1872, Neosho Times

HORSE THIEVES KILLED.  We learn that two men, names given as Frank Haskins and _____ Cunningham, were killed for horse stealing, on Stone's Prairie, five miles northeast of Corsicana, on Saturday.  The particulars of the affair we have not learned.

16 May 1872, Neosho Times

Tragedy in Barry County

A gentleman who visited Barry County within the past few days, informs us that a homicide was committed in that county, twelve or fifteen miles Southeast of Cassville, the 3d inst.  Two men, Ethridge and Hogmier, for some time past had been disputing the ownership of a "deer lick."  They met there last Friday, when Ethridge fired on Hogmier, killing him instantly.  Ethridge has been arrested, and also a man named Reader who was present at the time of the killing. -- Leader

13 February 1873, Neosho Times

From the Cassville Democrat

On last Friday night the sheriff went out to Peter Catron's for the purpose of arresting his son Hiram on a charge of disturbing religious worship, and of running a horse race on a public highway.  But the old gentleman refused to give him admission to his home, and politely informed him that he would split the first man's skull open with an axe who attempted to enter.  Under the circumstances, the sheriff called for a hault, and sent for reinforcements, which in due time arrived, when they made preparation to get into the old gentleman's house anyway, when he wisely concluded that discretion was the better part of valor and surrendered at discretion to the enemy.  One of the Sheriff's posse privately informed us, that the axe that Catron held in his hand when he was guarding the door against the Sheriff was the biggest and ugliest thing of the sort he ever saw.  Young Catron was brought into town, where he gave bail for his appearance at our next circuit court.  Which he had better have done at the start, without resisting an officer in the legal discharge of his duty.

28 August 1873, Neosho Times

From the Cassville Democrat

One day last week James Wilson and a Mr. Gee, who live in Mountain township, near old uncle Hugh Wilson's got into a difficulty about the division of some wheat that Gee was to receive from Wilson, for the rent of some land.  After having a considerable war of words, Gee made at Wilson with a pitchfork, and he not liking the looks of the savage instrument, broke to run, with Gee in hot pursuit -- the latter was about to overtake Wilson, when he suddenly turned, threw up the pitchfork, and seized Gee by the hair of the head and jerked him down, and scratched and pummeled him pretty sharply, until a reinforcement for Gee, in the person of his wife made her appearance on Wilson's rear, armed with another ugly looking pitchfork, with which she was making a desperate effort to pierce Wilson's bacon in a vulnerable point when a bystander luckily threw up the point of her fork and prevented her from committing murder. This terminated the fight -- and the belligerants were separated without further damage.

4 September 1873, Neosho Times

From the Cassville Democrat

The sporting fraternity had a horse race at Washburn last Saturday, at which money changed hands with great facility, to the satisfaction of some and the chagrin of others.  And that, together with the imbition of an uncertain amount of that villanous compound -- called rifle whiskey, put the devil in some of their heads, and John King and John Harbin got into a fight.  Harbin was about to prove too hard for young King, when his father ran up with a drawn pistol and persuaded Harbin to let him alone.  Harbin straitway, went and got his pistol; when King, having no business there any longer left; being over persuaded to do so, by the aforesaid Harbin.  In the meantime, young John King, not being satisfied with his own performance, got into a difficulty with a certain Mr. Orr, from Springfield, because he had not received a five dollar green back, which he claimed to have won on the horse race, and believing in the persuasive eloquence of his pistol, he presented it and deliberately fired it five times at Orr who tried to get out of danger; but not fast enough to prevent his clothes from being riddled with balls; though he escaped without receiving a wound.  King was arrested, but while they were arranging the preliminaries for a trial, he made his escape; and is now supposed to be on his way to Texas.


John King was involved in another incident in December, 1875.  See below.

5 March 1874, Neosho Times

We take the two following items from the Barry County Advocate:

The prisoners, confined in the jail here, attempted to burn out Tuesday night, but failed.  They succeeded in getting to the upper cell, by burning the staple that the trap-door was locked to.

Hilburn, confined in the jail here, and his wife attempted to play a pretty little game on Wm. C. Burton, deputy sheriff, last Friday.  She called to see her husband and was permitted to enter the jail for that purpose.  She was let down to the lower cell, where her husband is reached by descending a ladder. -- When she had been there as long as Burton thought prudent he went to let her out.  She wanted to stay longer, but as it was about supper time Burton said she could not. -- She came up the ladder, and as she reached the top his attention was arrested by the size of her hands, which appeared to have grown since she went down.  Burton paid close attention and when she stepped on the upper floor he noticed her dress was entirely too short, and that she appeared larger than usual.  As soon as she landed in the upper cell she walked out in the court room.  Burton was suspicious and as soon as possible he made the escape of the prisoners impossible and hastened after her.  He heard her try to open the outside door of the court room, which he had locked as a precautionary measure.  Failing in this she stepped in the jury room, closing the door.  Burton finding no one in the court room pushed open the door of the jury room and found her behind it.  He laid violent hands on her, pushed the bonnet off her face, and found Hilburn dressed in his wife's clothes.  We were not present, but would guess that there was some tall talking done by Burton about that time and hints about putting a boot shop on some part of Hilburn's body if he didn't make haste to his cell.  As a sequel to this little game Burton has been appointed Mrs. Hilburn's guardian until circuit court meets.

14 May 1874, Neosho Times

A horse thief came to Peirce City on Tuesday.  Result -- an empty saddle, an empty shot-gun and a new-made grave.

16 May 1874, Granby Miner

A Swift Trial and Stern Punishment
in Lawrence County

Boyd Brice, about 40 years old, and who had a small family and lived near Cassville, went down below Fayetteville a [few] weeks ago, ostensibly to buy a fine grey horse that was owned there -- a horse that had local fame as a racer.  The price or terms did not suit Brice, and he failed to purchase the coveted animal.  About a week ago, the owner, on going to his stable, found the stall of his favorite grey vacant.  Riding in hot haste, making hasty inquiries at crossroads, scouring the country -- the click of the Southwest Telegraph Company, menís and womenís tongues, were freely and effectually used in pursuit of the lost animal and supposed thief.  At Cassville, a few days ago, the first clue was obtained of horse and man, and Brice, who was well known was faithfully photographed for the pursuers.  At various small places traces of the thief and his plunder became more fresh.  Night and day the pursuers now hung on the irregular trail, until they arrived at Pierce City.  They dismounted from their horses, walked into town and commenced listening.  People were considerably excited at Pierce over the prospect of a horse race that was to come off.  Brice and his grey was the topic in all the saloons.  He would run the grey a quarter dash for $100 to $500 against any horse in Lawrence County.  Brice was a free drinker, and in a measure was fast winning fame and popularity in the saloons.  But Brice was human, as the sequel shows.  The benzine of Pierce told on his nerves, and he laid himself down under a shed or in a stall to quiet them.  His pursuers played pitch that night and a quiet game of draw and in the morning as the cock crew they picketed Pierce City as the quiet citizens took their morning nap.

Our informant fails to tell us how Brice got wind of his pursuers, but it seems he must have done so, for the next scene in this nearly every day Southwestern tragedy lay a mile or two from Pierce City, just as the sun was rising to bathe the chintz bugs of Lawrence County.  On a country road running down by a small farm pursued and pursuers come to the front.  There is a hurrying fugitive on a grey horse making a dash for life.  He heeds not the voice of a man who calls him to halt.  Three curling wreaths of smoke, three sharp reports of a pistol, and the fugitive halts as he drops from his saddle and grey horse.  Pursuers and pursued are soon face to face, but there is no crimination and re-crimination.  The pursuers take the grey horse and leave the body of Brice by the wayside, and riding into Pierce City tell the whole story of how it was done, show the blood on the saddle and saddle cloth to a large and surprised audience of citizens, and at last accounts were riding back to Fayetteville, invigorated and refreshed by the pleasant exercise and receiving the plaudits, we conclude, of Pierce City. Ė "Well done, good and faithful.  Take the grey horse and go home."

We are under obligation to Mr. Winfrey for this item. He happened in Pierce when the tale was told.

21 May 1874, Neosho Times

We credit the Barry County Advocate with [this item]:

S. M. Brice, who a few days ago was discharged from our jail, having served an eight days term of imprisonment for stealing a horse collar, and a few other small articles, staid all night with his family here Sunday night, going in the direction of Peirce City on Monday followed by two men from near Fayetteville, Ark., who claimed that he was riding a horse that did not belong to him.  Tuesday morning he was overtaken by his pursuers four miles from Peirce City, who ordered him to halt when he put spurs to his horse and attempted to escape, but in doing so received two pistol wounds, one in the thigh and one in the head, which brought him to the ground, the horse jumping on him with all his feet.  Brice's pursuers returned through here with the horse Tuesday evening and stated that he was unconscious and dying when left.

21 May 1874, Neosho Times

We credit the Barry County Advocate with [this item]:

Considerable excitement prevails on King's Prairie over an alleged case of infanticide.  It is impossible to get the facts in advance of a legal investigation of the case, but as near as we can learn them they are these:  The dog of a widow lady on King's prairie brought into the yard the head and shoulders of an infant, which caused an investigation of the matter by the neighbors, resulting in the arrest of a Mrs. McCoy for the crime of infanticide.  It is said she confessed to the birth of a child alive but that it died, when to secrete it from her husband who had repeatedly threatened to leave her on the birth of a child, she wrapped it in a blanket and secretly put it away under a log.  A great many rumors are afloat, implicating the husband of Mrs. McCoy in the matter, but as they are unreliable we will await further developments at the examination.

3 September 1874, Carthage Banner

The Neosho Journal says:  A considerable excitement has been prevailing at Corsicana in the edge of this county, over the operations of a gang of thieves.  Two weeks ago Jeffries drug store was broken into and liquors and other articles stolen, and various other depredations committed in the neighborhood.  On Saturday night a party went out and arrested Tom Davis, a suspicious character livng near by, and taking him to the woods stretched his neck with a halter until he confessed not only to his own crimes but to those of a considerable gang in Barry, Newton and McDonald counties.  Aaron Davis, his father, was arrested and parties are on the hunt for more of the gang.  The two Davises have been committed to jail.

23 December 1875, Carthage Banner

An unfortunate difficulty occurred at Washburn last Tuesday night between R. R. Smith and John King, during which King shot Smith in the abdomen the ball ranging down, producing what was at first thought to be a fatal wound but we are happy to say that Mr. Smith according to latest advices is in a fair way to recover.  Mr. Smith is a prominent citizen of that locality; while young King belongs to a very respectable family.  He made his escape as soon as the shooting was done. The difficulty was about an old grudge.  A writ has been sworn out for the arrest of John King and also for the arrest of Jesse King, his brother for being particeps criminls in the shooting of Smith.  John King has not yet been arrested but his brother Jesse has been arrested, and brought to Cassville for a preliminary examination. -- [Cassville] Democrat.


R. R. Smith was involved in another shooting with a Jesse King in January, 1877.  See below.  John King was involved in a prior scrape with John Harbin in September, 1873. See above.

2 March 1876, Neosho Times

From the Cassville Democrat

A. N. Kelly Esq. came up to town last Tuesday and swore out a writ for perjury against Dr. Holliday of Corsicana; and the Sheriff and his deputy went down to that place the same evening to arrest him; but they returned Wednesday night and report the Doctor non est.  He was however arrested by constable John R. Montgomery and brought up here last Tuesday when he waived an examination and gave bond in the sum of $400, for his appearance at the next term of our circuit court.


Amos N. Kelly was killed by Jim Hall at Corsicana in September, 1879.  One newspaper at the time linked his death to the murder of Dr. Holladay.  In The People's Press story below, Dr. Holladay was reported to have been walking with his wife and Mrs. Hall when he was murdered.  For Kelly's murder, see below.

19 July 1876, Lawrence County Chieftan, Mt. Vernon, Missouri

We learn from the Valley Press, published at Corsicana, Barry County, the details of one of the most dastardly murders that has come under our observation for sometime.  It seems that Dr. J. A. Holliday, who is a resident of the above mentioned place, was under arrest and being guarded by the constable, at a house a short distance from his home.  It being supper time his wife came over and got the consent of the constable for her husband to return home for supper, and a man by the name of Bud Crawford was detailed to accompany him.  It seems that on their way to the Doctors house he and Crawford had some words, when the latter deliberately shot his prisoner through the heart. The Justice refused to issue a warrant for Crawford and he will no doubt escape the clutch of that law whose strictest penalty he so much needs.

20 July 1876, Fountain and Journal, Mt. Vernon, Missouri


Dr. Holliday, living at Gadfly, in Barry county, was shot and killed by a man named Crawford, on Monday night the 10th, about 9 o'clock.

There was no ill feeling between the two, and it is supposed he was hired to commit the deed.  He had said during the day he was going to kill him.

Holliday had been under arrest on some trumped up charge which was probably for the purpose of aiding in commiting the deed.  He had just been released without trial and in company with his wife and another lady and some gentlemen, when Crawford stepped in front and shot him down.

He was buried by I. O. O. F., of which he was a member.

Crawford immediately left and has not yet been arrested.  Suspicion points very strongly to those who are supposed to be the aiders and abbetors in the crime although no arrest have yet been made. -- Carthage Banner.

20 July 1876, Springfield Leader

Another Murder.
[Granby Miner.]

Dr. Holliday, of Corsicana, was shot and killed at that place, on Monday last by one Crawford.  According to the report of the circumstances attending the killing which we have received, there is little doubt that it was an unprovoked and deliberate murder.

It seems that Dr. Holliday had been arrested, on charge made by one George Garrison, charging Holliday with criminal intercourse with Garrison's wife, and had been placed under Crawford's guard.  After supper time Holliday requested Crawford, the guard to go with him to his (Holliday's) house, as he wanted his supper.  Holliday's wife and another lady were standing by his side at the time.  Crawford objected to going with Holliday saying that he believed he meant to escape.  Holliday denied the imputation but insisted upon Crawford's going with him, so that he could get his supper.  During the dispute Crawford had drawn his pistol, when Holliday told him he did not dare to shoot.  Shortly after, and while, so far as we can learn Holliday was making no offer nor attempt to escape, Crawford leveled his weapon on Holliday.  The ladies besought him not to fire, but without avail.  He fired with deadly aim, the ball penetrating Holliday's neck, and causing death in a few moments.

It seems that no attempt was made to arrest Crawford that night although Mrs. Holliday urged the authorities to do so, and when the verdict of the coroner's jury charging Crawford with the killing, was brought in next day, of course Crawford was gone -- a guilty fugitive.

A large number of men started in pursuit, but at last accounts he had not been found.

Dr. Holliday is well known in this section and was esteemed as a very worthy man.  We have heard it intimated that there is an old difficulty that probably underlies this affair -- and that the charge and arrest of Holliday, were trumped up against him by enemies.  However it may be, it is to be hoped the officers of Barry County will be more on the alert in ferreting out and punishing Crawford if he is guilty than they seem to have been in preventing it.

20 July 1876, The People's Press, Carthage Missouri

A Horrible Murder.
Peirce City Record.

One of those cold-blooded murders that so often shock the community, was committed on last Monday evening, about 9 o'clock, at our neighboring town Corsicana, about 12 miles south of here in Barry County.

There are several rumors about the origin of the affair.  Some being sufficiently out-spoking as to charge that the assassin was a hireling of other parties.  The bare facts of the case, as we learn them, are about as these:

Dr. Holliday, who is [a] gentleman well spoken of by his friends, had incurred the bitter enmity of some parties and threats had been made in [a] few weeks "that Dr. Holliday should die."  Last Monday, a mob tried to arrest Holliday on a frivilous pretense.  When they went to his house, he defied them and refused to submit to an arrest by any parties, other than a proper officer, with necessary papers.  Some one swore out a warrant, which was served by a constable, whom Dr. Holliday accompanied to the Squires office.  After dallying all day, and failing to make out a case, Dr. Holliday was permitted to start home.  His wife and another lady, Mrs. Hall, was accompanying him, it being about 9 o'clock at night.  They had only walked a short distance from the Squire's office, when Bud. Crawford passed them.  After going a short distance beyond, he turned back and presenting a pistol told Holliday to stop; "that he could go no further without the constable."  Holliday answered him, saying:  "Why, Bud, you must be a fool; you are not mad at me; I am your friend." Crawford stepped forward then, and putting the pistol within twelve inches of Holliday's breast, fired.  The ball entered the breast at the point of the collar bone.  Holliday sank to the ground between his wife and Mrs. Hall, who had hold of him by the arms, saying:  "I am shot; I am killed," and in a short time after he was dead.  Crawford immediately made his escape, and up to the present writing had not been arrested.  Tuesday parties hunting him found a blanket he had been sleeping on and ran him from his dinner, though they did not see him.  A coroner's inquest was held on Tuesday before the Squire when the jury found a verdict in accordance with the above facts -- that Dr. Holliday was murdered by a pistol shot, fired by the hands of Bud Crawford.  Mr. A. N. Kelly, cross examined the witnesses on the part of the defense -- rather new practice to us.

The funeral of Dr. Holliday took place on Wednesday.  There was an immense concourse of people in attendance, some old residents say "it was the largest funeral procession they had ever seen."  The services were conducted by the Odd Fellows of which fraternity Dr. Holliday was a member in good standing.  The scenes at Dr. Holliday's house were truly heart-rending.  The young wife who was disconsolate, shed heart tears, that were as tears of blood, and their bitterness will enter into the soul of the assassin and those of his instigators, and scorch them with everlasting remorse.  His little child, who had his father for a companion and play-fellow elicited the sympathy of every one by asking "ma, why don't pa wake up?  What is the matter with pa?  I want to play with him," and such child-like questions, which made the hearts of strong men throb, and the tears flow from many a mother's eye.

The feelings of the community are strong against the incitors and perpetrators of this deed and vengeance will overtake them sooner or later.

10 August 1876, Neosho Times

The Holladay Murder -- Letter
from Dr. Perry


Rocky Comfort, July 31, 1876.

To the Editor of The Times:

Having been informed by some of my friends that a report is being circulated to the effect that I had been taking an active part in behalf of Crawford, the murderer of Dr. Holladay, permit me to take this method of announcing my actual feelings in this matter to the public. -- Those unkind aspersions have evidently been started by some double-dealing enemies, who, without warrant or shadow of justice, have designs upon my character and reputation.  Those with whom I am intimately acquainted -- my friends and neighbors -- know that from the time this dastardly act was committed, up to the present, I have denounced it as a foul, cold-blooded murder, and unreservedly expressed my desire that the guilty party or parties be apprehended, and the majesty of the law fully vindicated.  Although there may have been an unfriendly relationship existing between myself and Dr. Holladay -- a thing I greatly lament -- still, there is no honest person, who knows me well, will believe for a moment that I would attempt to justify so foul a deed, or make an effort to exonerate the real culprit.  Those who started the report that I was taking a contrary position, are my unscrupulous enemies, and willing to do anything to heap reproach upon my shoulders.  I am ready and willing to-day, as I have ever been since this unfortuate affair occurred, to contribute as much as any other man of this community to aid in the capture of Crawford.  This much I have said, and still say:  That people should be extremely cautious in censuring or implicating other parties in this matter, until they have seen definite evidence of their complicity; for censure, without warrant, in matters as grave as this, might lead to dangerous results. -- Let all bend their united efforts for the capture of the known criminal, but hold their peace until a judicial investigation shall criminate suspected parties.

I write this card soley for the purpose of setting myself right abroad; at home these shafts fall harmless at my feet. -- Hoping that I may not soon again have to appear in print in extenuation of such painful reproaches, I am, very truly,

Your obt. ser't.


In the spring of 1877, Dr. Perry borrowed money from several friends and disappeared with the money and a local woman of doubtful reputation.  He was reportedly seen next in Dennison TX.  This was reported in a Peirce City paper and picked up by The People's Press of Carthage on 12 April 1877.  The Peirce City Empire of 16 December 1886 reported that Dr. Perry, formerly of Barry County, was in the banking business in Texas but gave no location.  The Cassville Republican of 15 August 1901 reported that Dr. Perry of Hamilton, Texas, had been visiting in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

22 August 1876, Sedalia Weekly Bazoo


The Murderer of Dr. Holliday Be-
ing Hunted Down

Diligent search is being made for Thos. H. Crawford, the murderer of Dr. J. A. Holliday, of Corsicana, Mo.  A reward of $1,000 is offered.  It would take a regiment of men to preserve Crawford's life if he were brought back to Barry county.  It is intimated that other parties who are accused of hiring Crawford to do the murder stand in danger of being "vigilanced."  The murder was one of the coldest blooded we have ever heard of.  While Mrs. Holliday and a sister were covering the Doctor's breast with their arms, begging for his life, the wretch answered, "I intend to kill him any way, and this is as good as time as any," and deliberately shot him through the heart,the ball barely missing his wife's arm.

Crawford is about 25 years old, 5 feet 8 inches in height, rather dark complexion, dark brown or auburn hair, a little curly, grayish blue eyes, showing considerable of the white, no beard, but when he has, it is thin and rather light colored, some fingernail scratches on the face from a recent fight, one upper front tooth out, carries his head forward and drooping, a slight limp in his walk and will weight about 160 pounds.

If possible, Crawford should be taken alive, for he may divulge information which will lead to the conviction and punishment of his accomplises in the heinous murder which he has perpetrated. -- Southwester, Mo.

21 September 1876, Missouri Weekly Patriot, Springfield

Bud Crawford, who killed Dr. Holliday at Corsicana, Barry County, was caught, on the 2d inst., by J. A. Sartain, and others.  He was captured near Ft. Smith, in the Indian Territory, without any resistance.  He had hired out to a party in the Territory, as a blacksmith, and was driving a team of oxen at the time of the arrest.  He was taken to Cassville, and committed.  Col. N. Bray and others appeared for the State, and J. M. Patterson for the defendant.


Crawford, the murderer of Dr. Holliday, is reported to have said he received $1,000 for committing the deed.

21 September 1876, Springfield Leader


Crawford, charged with killing Dr. Holladay at Corsicana, was examined last Friday at Cassville and committed [i.e. bound over for trial].  Bray, Pardue, Weare and Cloud prosecuted and J. M. Patterson defended.  We learn that intense excitement existed during the trial and fears were entertained that the prisoner would be lynched.


A brief note in the Peirce City Empire for October 21, 1876, says that Rev. J. A. Sartin collected the reward for Crawford's capture.  For more on Sartin's activities as a bounty hunter, see Part II.  According to Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County (reprint), page 72, Crawford died in jail at Springfield while awaiting trial.  Whoever hired Crawford was apparently never charged with the crime.

Dr. J. A. Holladay is buried in the Clark Cemetery in Barry County.  According to the tombstone inscription he was born June 13, 1841 and died July 10, 1876.  On October 28, 1877, his wife Dazrean remarried to George E. Lopp, the stage driver at Corsicana and later owner of a livery stable at Peirce City (Barry County Marriage Records, book D28).  The 1880 census shows Dazrean to be age 33, born in Missouri, with four children by Dr. Holladay: Lulu E., age 13, born IL; Elmer N., 10 IL; Line M. (female), 7 MO; and Sherman E., 4 MO.  Information for this note was provided by Ken Holladay, a descendant of Dr. Holladay.

25 January 1877, Neosho Times

From the Cassville Democrat

Late last Tuesday evening they had a rather serious shooting affair at Washburn in this county, between R. R. Smith and Jesse King jr.  It seems there had been an old feud existing between them for some time, and Smith came riding up in front of the Grange store at that place, where King was standing in conversation with one of his cousins, when Smith accused him, using some naughty language, and immediately drew his pistol and fired upon King, the ball striking him on the right side of the chest and glancing against a rib in the downward direction, and coming out some three or four inches from its point of entrance.  King immediately drew his pistol and commenced firing upon Smith, and for a short time they had quite a lively little skirmish, firing some three or four shots apiece.  Smith received a severe wound in the right leg, just below the knee; and besides had his horse shot in the fleshy part of the neck.

King had Smith arrested for assault with intent to kill him, the said King, and prosecuting attorney Plummer and A. H. Wear went up to Washburn last Wednesday, to prosecute the case; but Mr. Smith's wound was so painful that the trial was deferred until next Wednesday.  King's wound is a little painful, but not at all dangerous; while Mr. Smith's extremely painful and not devoid of danger; and it may be weeks before he finally recovers.


R. R. Smith was involved in a prior shooting with a John King in December, 1875.  See above.

26 May 1877, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Last Friday night a couple of irate females armed themselves with clubs and "otherwise" and repaired to a house some three or four miles from town occupied by one of their own sex, whose reputation for chastity, as rumored, is not so good as it might be.  Arrived at the house they fell upon the woman and after choking her, beating her with their clubs and "otherwise" maltreating her they left her in a senseless, badly used-up condition. Wednesday the woman was brought to town, and, as we understand, made complaint preparatory to a judicial investigation. -- Valley Press [Cassville].

30 June 1877, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Resisting an Officer -- and what
Came of It.
[From the Valley Press]

Last Friday evening a Mr. J. Beakley came to Cassville, bringing with him two writs, issued by the acting Governor of this State in response to a requisition of the Governor of Texas, directed to Sheriff Hopkins, and commanding him to apprehend, secure and deliver J. F., Napolean and Columbus Rowley, and surrender them to Beakley as the agent of the State of Texas.  Saturday morning the Sheriff, Beakley, Constable Eden and brother proceeded to the residence of J. F. Rowley, near Washburn, and there finding Napoleon Rowley arrested and surrendered him to Beakley.  The posse then proceeded to Washburn, where the Sheriff arrested and surrendered J. F. Rowley as directed.  J. F. Rowley and Beakley, who seemed to have been acquainted with each other in Texas, stepped aside and held quite a lengthy conversation, in which Rowley betrayed great anxiety to ascertain if there was also a writ for his other son, Columbus, and Beakley informed him there was.  A short time after, Rowley, who was not under strict surveilance, mounted his horse and left Washburn in the direction of his home.  This fact was communicated to Sheriff Hopkins, and by him to Beakley, who said he had promised Rowley he might go home but that he did not intend to permit him to do so without an accompanying guard.  Beakley and constable Eden started at once in pursuit, as did also the Sheriff, but by a different route.  Columbus Rowley it was reported and believed was in South America, but the conduct and remarks of Rowley aroused the Sheriff's suspicions and led him to believe that Columbus was not so far away.  Concluding that Rowley had not gone home, the Sheriff, instead of following him as did Beakley and Eden, took a road leading to the house of Ebin Ledgenham, a son-in-law of Rowley's.  Approaching the house he saw Rowley, Legenham (sic) and another son-in-law of Rowley's in close consultation.  Concealing himself he waited and watched.  Presently Ebin Ledgenham mounted a fleet horse belonging to Rowley, and rode off in the direction of Peirce City, on the road leading from Washburn to that place.  Rowley and the other son-in-law started off in the direction of Rowley's house near which they were met by Beakley and Eden.  Deciding to follow Ledgenham, the Sheriff, so soon as the way was clear, set out after him confident that he had been sent with a message to Columbus Rowley.  He soon found that Ledgenham was riding at great speed, for although on a fleet horse himself, he kept up a spanking gate for ten miles before he came in view of Ledgenham.  Keeping Ledgenham in sight as nearly as it was possible to do without arousing suspicion, he followed on until near Corsicana, about sixteen miles from Washburn.  Just before reaching L. J. Blankenship's residence, a stretch of the road favoring [?] he saw Ledgenham meet another man driving a team hitched to the running gear of a wagon, on which he man was riding, at the crossing of the creek a few yards north of Blankenship's residence.  After a short conversation, Ledgenham turned about, and the two men proceeding, met the Sheriff opposite Blankenship's barn.

So soon as they met, the Sheriff, fully satisfied that the man on the wagon was Columbus Rowley, motioned for him to check up, and as he did so, told him to surrender, as he was an officer and had process for his arrest.  Rowley, for it was Columbus Rowley, for whom the Sheriff had the Governor's writ, jumped from the wagon saying, "No, I'll be God d---d if I do!" drew a six-shooter and leveled it at the Sheriff.  Quick as thought the Sheriff dropped from his horse, drew and presented his revolver, and commanded him to surrender.  The two men then stood, each with his revolver leveled at the other, on either side of the running gear of the wagon.  Although previously advised of the desperate character of the man, and wishing to avoid the apparent extremity, although determined to do his duty, the Sheriff, taking the risk of Rowley's pulling trigger, sou't by expostulation to get him to submit to lawful authority, but to no purpose.  Ledgenham had in the meantime dismounted, and his horse was standing near the head of the team Rowley had been driving.  With pistol still leveled, Rowley backed away from the Sheriff in the direction of this horse.  Divining his intention, the Sheriff just as Rowley with one foot in the stirrup was mounting this horse, met him, and with revolver at his breast, again demanded him to surrender.  Rowley made no reply, but dropping his foot from the stirrup, leveled his pistol at the Sheriff across the saddle.  For a few seconds the two men stood, each with pistol leveled at the other, and separated by the horse.  Rowley stepped back, and the Sheriff whipped around the horse, stood face to face with him.  Rowley kept stepping back, in the direction of the horse ridden by the Sheriff, which had been left standing where dismounted.  Supposing his intention to be to mount this horse, if possible, the Sheriff pressed on Rowley, and when within about four feet of him, Rowley suddenly leveled his pistol and fired, the ball grazing the Sheriff's leg.  No sooner was the pistol discharged than Rowley tried to cock it again, but the Sheriff seeing the strait he was in, fired, and at the same moment jumped towards Rowley and succeeded in grasping Rowley's pistol around the chamber with his left hand.  A fierce struggle ensued, in which Rowley got hold of the Sheriff's pistol with his left hand.  Finally the Sheriff succeeded in freeing his own pistol from Rowley's grasp, and with it struck Rowley two smart blows against his right arm, which caused him to release his hold of the other pistol, which so soon as done, Rowley staggered and fell, and rising, fell again.

Knowing that his shot had struck Rowley, so soon as he fell the Sheriff called to Ledgenham, who all this time had been a silent spectator, and the two went to Rowley, and lifting him off a pile of stones on which he had fallen laid him on the ground.  Just at this time some others came up, and with their assistance Rowley was carried and laid under the shade trees in Blankenship's yard across the road from where the encounter occurred.  The Sheriff at once sent for a physician, but the messenger had scare gone ere Rowley breathed his last.  The Coroner, who lives at Corsicana, was at once notified, and in the evening held an inquest.

* * * * * * * * *

[Apparently, the following paragraphs were added by the Empire rather than copied from the Valley Press.]

The following is the verdict of the Coroner's jury:

"After having heard the evidence and upon full inquiry concerning the facts, and a careful examination of the said body, do find that the deceased came to his death in a manner and by means of a pistol shot in the hands of A. J. Hopkins, Sheriff of Barry county Missouri, who was justifiable in the act."

August 15, 1874, Columbus Rowley, then 16 years old, killed Walter Black, 17 years old.  The young men had a quarrel, and when young Black was getting on his horse Rowley crept up behind him and knocked his skull in with a foot adz.  After this cowardly murder, young Rowley fled into Arkansas where his father and brother Napoleon had gone some weeks before for the alledged murder of Wm. Hunter, a negro man.  Columbus then went to South America, soon grew tired and returned, went to his father's in Barry county, then to California, but soon returned again.  He went to the Black Hills last spring, but returned and had spent most of his time at his brother-in-law's in Dade county, at other times he was at his father's in Barry, and east of Peirce City, where he played the role of a hired man and assumed the name of George Haines.  After almost three years, wondering up and down, he is shot and killed while resisting arrest.

The elder Rowley and his son claim that they killed the negro who was their tenant, while resisting arrest, and that he was of bad character and shot at them first and that the shooting was in self-defense.  The old man, at that time a justice of the peace, and the son gave themselves up and upon a preliminary examination were acquitted.  They then moved to Arkansas and from there to Barry county, near Washburn, where they settled down, and possessing considerable means, have bought land in that as well as this county, and had the reputation of good citizens.

Mr. Beakley returned to Texas having taken the word of the old man and Napoleon that they will appear at the next term of the proper court in that state.

7 July 1877, Peirce City Weekly Empire

We have been furnished the following statement concerning the killing of Walter Black by Columbus Rowley who was killed by the sheriff of Barry County two weeks ago to-day, and which differs somewhat from the former information:

Rowley and Black had a difficulty June 17th, 1874, Black then rode off up the creek, and after some time returned with a foot adz, renewed the difficulty and run at young Rowley with the adz drawn.  In the scuffle Rowley got the adz and struck the blow that killed Black instantly.  It is not true, as reported, that young Rowley killed a sheriff in Texas.


In February, 1882, Napoleon Rowley, brother of Columbus Rowley, killed ex-sheriff Hopkins in a Washburn saloon.  For an account of the killing, see Part II.

2 August 1877, Neosho Times

SHOT AND WOUNDED. -- Mr. Truston Sparkman was down last Monday, and he informs us that Hugh Clements was shot from the brush last Sunday evening, as he was driving a wagon and team over to his mothers, a short distance from his house.  He was shot in the back immediately under the right shoulder blade, the ball coming to the surface on the right breast, an inch or more from the median line, producing a severe, though it is hoped, not a fatal wound.  Mr. Clements at last accounts was doing very well, and was expected to recover, the ball having been extracted by Dr. Eggleston, who had been called to see him, just under the skin on the right breast.

Last Monday A. J. Dye and two of his sons were arrested on suspicion of being the would be assassins, and brought to Washburn; and Prosecuting Attorney Plummer and Hunter Ware went up the same evening to attend the preliminary examination; but it was postponed from day to day, until last Thursday, when it was expected to come off.  We will not therefore be able to give the result of said examination in all probability before next week. -- Cassville Democrat.


Goodspeed's 1888 History of McDonald County, page 38, wrongly dates this event in July, 1878, and places it in that county, but the Barry County prosecutor would not have been involved if it had occurred there.  Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County, page 74, says that A. J. Dye shot and killed a man named Morris in southern Barry County in May, 1887.  He was awaiting trial when the book was published.

16 January 1879, Peirce City Weekly Empire


Two young men by the name of David Morgan and Jacob McGlandlass, of this county, got into a difficulty at Wat. Carney's just over the line in Arkansas, New Years night, at a dance at that place, and agreed to go out and have a fair fight, in order to settle it.  They went out, and Morgan pulled his coat off, and as McGandlass was pulling his off, Morgan run up and stabbed him in the side of the chest; and broke and fled.  McGandlass lived about two hours, when he died from the effects of the wound.  Immediate pursuit was give to Morgan, but he eluded his pursuers and made his escape.  Morgan was from Greene county, to this county. -- Cassville Democrat.

24 April 1879, Neosho Times

The Cassville paper says that the body of an unknown murdered man was recently found in White River, about 100 yards below Leland's Ferry.  He had reached the apparent age of 45 or 50 years.  He had been shot through the mouth and struck on the head with some hard substance.  Was dressed in dark clothing.  No clue to his name was upon him.  A little time ago this man had passed through Cassville in company with two young men, the three having a wagon and a team of a horse and a mule.  They hailed from Kansas and said they were travelling to purchase cattle.  The young men and team have been seen since the murder.

22 May 1879, Neosho Times

. . . [F]rom the Cassville Democrat of the 17th inst.:  . . . . We learn from reliable authority that the name of the man found murdered in White River, about the 15th of April last was Thomas Ellis, and that he was from Norristown, Pope county, Arkansas.  Arkansas papers please copy, that the matter may be ferreted out, and his murderers brought to the punishment that they so richly deserve.

24 April 1879, Neosho Times

The Cassville Democrat reports that Wallace Greenwood was shot, on last week Sunday night, at a place on the Rock Creek road about two and a half miles from Cassville.  The ball penetrated his left breast, traversed his left lung, and came out near the spine on the same side, but he will probably recover.  He seemed to be ignorant of his assailant's name.  Next morning James Roberts acknowledged the shooting and surrendered himself to a constable.  The Democrat says it forbears comments as the affair has yet to undergo investigation.  Roberts has been place under a $_____ bond.

24 April 1879, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Sensation at Cassville.

The Cassville Republican last week furnished the following item:  The best information we can get is as follows:  Sunday night, 13th inst about ten o'clock, four citizen[s] of Cassville, to wit, James Roberts and Byron Hawk (single men) and Dr. W. Speece and Wallace Greenwood (married men) met at or near the residence of a young grass widow about three miles southeast of this place, for purposes best known to themselves, Roberts and Hawk getting there first, but soon after the others came.  When the usual tragedy, on such occasions, followed, and the result was that, James Roberts shot Wallace Greenwood, with a large Colts army Pistol, in the left-breast, the ball passing through his lung and out just below the left shoulder-blade[,] Greenwood by the aid of Dr. Speece got to Mr. J. M. Wallen's, near by, where he remained until conveyance was procured and he was taken home.  His relatives and friends with the aid of physicians, are doing all they can to save him, but the hopes of his recovery are shadowed with much doubt.  James Roberts surrendered himself to authorities Monday morning and was placed under bond.


In December, 1882, a Jim Roberts killed Thomas Bratton at a Barry County dance.  For an account of the resulting trial, see Part II.

25 September 1879, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Startling Murder!


The Criminal Still at Large, but
Officers in Every Direction
Searching for Him.
One of the Most Dastardly Mur-
ders Ever Committed in
Southwest Missouri.
[From Monday's Daily.]

A gentleman arrived in the city this afternoon and imparted the information of the murder of Amos N. Kelley, of Corsicana, this morning.  Our informant says about 10 o'clock this morning Jim Hall and Amos N. Kelley were in the store of W. I. I. Morrow and as Kelley was leaving the store, Hall shot him in the back, the ball penetrating the heart and lodged in the breast, causing death in less than thirty minutes.  It is alleged the cause of the murder was an old grudge in which Amos had appeared as an attorney for Carr and Hall as a defendant.  Great excitement was created by the tearful deed, and Hall made his escape.  Officers are now out in every direction looking for the criminal, but at last accounts had not succeeded in making the arrest.

Further Particulars.
[From Tuesday's Daily.]

We glean the following facts in relation to the killing of Amos N. Kelley at Corsicana yesterday, from Mr. McKinney, who was present at the inquest held by Squire Ripley last night, at Morrow's store, and who took down the testimony:

It seems that Mr. Kelley had just returned from Eureka Springs with his wife on Sunday last.  Early Monday morning Mr. Kelley went to town for his buggy, intending to take his wife over to his father's to execute a deed to some property to one Mrs. Stanley, when returning to his home he met James Hall and a Mr. Key coming into Corsicana.  Says Hall to Kelley, "You work for nothing, do you?"  To which Mr. Kelley made no reply, but drove on home.  Presently Kelley and his wife returned to Corsicana and stopped at Morrow's store to have a deed filled out for Mrs. Stanley, who, by chance, met them at the store.  While conversing with Mrs. Stanley about the title of the property, Hall who was sitting on the west side of the store, on the counter, came to the east counter where Kelley and Mrs. Stanley were standing and commenced a very abusive tirade on Kelley, and trying to provoke a fight.  Soon the parties came to blows, and Kelley being much smaller than his antagonist got behind the counter; at this juncture Hall drew a navy revolver to shoot Kelley.  Kelley seeing this motion of Hall, started to run out of the west door of the store, being unarmed.  Mrs. Kelley seeing the danger of her husband attempted to rush between them, but did not succeed, and cried out to Hall not to shoot her husband, but Hall passed her and just as Kelley was turning north at the west door of the store, shot Kelley near the seventh dorsal vertebrate, the ball ranging obliquely toward the left nipple passing near or hitting the heart and possibly cutting the descending aorta.  Kelley fell on the platform and to ground, and while his wife was trying to raise his prostrate form, the villian attempted to shoot him again, but did not.  Kelley simply said to his wife, "Molly I am killed.  Tell my brothers not to do anything unlawful, as I will be dead before any of them can see me;" and soon died.

There can be little doubt that the killing results from bad blood engendered by the wanton assassination of Dr. Hallidy, some three years ago, in which Kelley was reputed in some way to be connected.  Hall after the shooting walked away, down the street with his brother William, breathing curses upon his victim.  No attempt was made by the many citizens, who witnessed the killing, to arrest Hall, who, no doubt, will escape.  The murder was unprovoked and a most diabolical one.  The end is not yet, if Hall is found.  Kelley's eight brothers, who are after him, will settle his hash, no doubt.

2 October 1879, Peirce City Weekly Empire

A gentleman from Barry co. told us the particulars of the surrender of Jas. Hall the Kelley murderer.  Hall sent in to the authorities that he was willing to surrender, but requested they send 12 men to guard him, as he feared assassination.  The men were sent out and Hall taken to Cassville, he was released and walked the streets until the sheriff returned from a trip he had to make into the country.  Hall, he said, had several bad cuts on his breast, and one particularly ugly wound just to the right of his navil.  There seems to be some mystery connected with this murder.

27 March 1880, Miner and Mechanic, Neosho, Missouri

Hall-Kelly Murder Trial. -- James
Hall Acquitted.

Our readers will remember that on the 22d day of September, 1879, at Corsicana, Barry County, Mo., James Hall shot and killed Amos N. Kelly.  That Hall surrendered himself soon after the homicide.  At the March term of the Barry Circuit he was indicted for murder in the first degree.  On last Thursday morning the case was stated to the jury, and the evidence of forty-four witnesses was concluded on Saturday evening.  The argument was begun by Capt. James Patterson opening for the state.  A. J. Harbison opening for the defence, followed by Mr. Joe Plummer and George Hubbert concluded for the defence, and O. H. Traverse concluded for the state, Mr. Wear, prosecuting attorney being sick.

The time occupied by the counsel in presenting their argument was:  Patterson, 1 1/2 hours; Harbison, 3 1/2; Plummer, 1 1/2; Hubbert, 6; and Traverse 7; making about twenty hours solid talk.

The jury were only ten minutes in making their verdict.  The defence was justification.  The evidence showed that Kelly stabbed Hall with a Congress knife before Hall drew his pistol and fired.


Goodspeed's 1888 History of Barry County, again with typical pinpoint accuracy, lists this event in 1877.  It also says that the shooting occurred in William Fly's store, where Kelly and his wife had gone to acknowledge a deed.  Reprint, page 73.

22 January 1880, Peirce City Weekly Empire

We learn this morning that Sheriff Hudson received a requisition from Gov. Phelps for the arrest of one Hefley of this county, for some offense committed in Texas.  The Sheriff and his deputy (Edens) went out to Hefley's Tuesday night to arrest him, and as H. did not wish to be hampered with the law he gave leg bail.  While he was signing the leg bail bond in his bare feet at a rapid rate, the Deputy pulled down on him several times with a revolver.  The fellow run into the brush, and the Deputy saw him no more for a short time.  Finally the Sheriff and Deputy discovered a pair of huge white feet sticking up, and went and pulled the fellow over and rolled him around and pronounced him dead, came back to town and left him lying in the woods.  The Deputy was terribly worked up about the matter all night, losing considerable sleep.  Wednesday morning however revealed the fact that the man had been resurected and was not to be found by the Coronor, who found that the "possum" game had been played fine on the officers. -- Cassville Republican.

Leaving off preliminaries, the account of this affair given by the Democrat is as follows:  When Hefley stopped running the sheriff and deputy called to each other and soon got together in a road or path where they discovered the body of James Hefley lying prone upon the earth, and upon examination appeared to be dead -- no sign of breathing or beating of the heart could be discovered.  The sheriff and deputy therefore informed the family where to find him, and came on to town and sent Esq. Manley out to hold an inquest, but when the squire got there, he could find no dead body; nor the sign of one, and the family said that Hefley was not hurt much, and we have reasons to believe that he was not touched by a ball, but had either fainted, or was possuming in order to fool the officers -- most probably the former.

7 October 1880, Peirce City Weekly Empire

"Road Agents" Make a Haul.

About noon, on yesterday a week, Threadgill & Genning's stage was stopped on the road about 17 miles south of this city, on Shoal creek, by six men wearing handkerchiefs, masks, and armed to [the] teeth.  The driver, Eldridge, was commanded to halt at the muzzle of a double-barreled shot-gun.  W. H. Champlin attempted to draw a revolver, when he was fired upon by one of the road agents, the bullet passing through his coat-sleeve.  They then ordered the eleven men and Mrs. Fisher out of the stage and to hold up their hands.  Mr. A. P. Man, First assistant Engineer of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway, was relieved of his gold watch and chain and $270 in money; his clerk, W. H. Champlin, of about $175.  Two gentlemen threw their pocket-books away, containing some $1,500, but returned afterward and got them.  The United State mail and Adams' Express were not molested at all.  After they had gone through everybody they ordered the driver to skip, and then leisurely walked into the woods. 

No clue of the robbers has yet been obtained.

25 November 1880, Neosho Times

The man Lewis, arrested for complicity in the Eureka stage robbery, confesses to having killed a man named Shaw, in Duquoin, Ill., on the 7th of October.  He is evidently a hard case.

9 December 1880, Neosho Times

Results of Reading Dime Novels.

The Joplin Herald has the following to say about Lewis and Sanders, recently arrested and now in the Greene county jail for robbing the Eureka Springs stage, and Posey, who has been implicated as a confederate in the transaction:

They are all Granby boys, and many of our citizens who formerly resided there remember them.  In conversation a few days since, with a former resident of Granby, an incident was recalled in the life the boys that brings up the old saw, "As the twig is bent," etc.  At the time of the occurrence Posey, Lewis and Sanders were lads of about 12 to 14 years of age.  For some days the movements of some half-dozen lads, including the three above-mentioned, partook something of the mysterious.  They were seen constantly consulting together, and making frequent visits to the woods near town.  Their movements aroused curiosity, and they were watched and traced to their rendezvous in the forest.  The parties who made the descent were astonished to find an improvised camp, in which were concealed every species of fire-arms, from an old-fashioned single pistol to a double-barreled shot-gun.  The collection included a number of new revolvers.

Their intention was to leave for Texas in a day or two and become brigands of the border.  They had been reading ten-cent novels glowing with the exploits of "Rowdy, the Ranger," "Bloody Bill," "One-eyed Kit," "the Cut-throat of the Cliff," and other amiable characters peculiar to that class of literature, and longed to distinguish themselves as highway men.  Posey was captain, having acquired that distinction by stealing half a dozen revolvers from his father's store.  The others had provided such arms as they could procure around home.  The den they had made looked like a militia picket post.  The discovery of their arsenal created quite a sensation, and the youthful brigands were captured by their parents and taken from the path of glory and remanded to the monotony and trials of the domestic roof.

Now that they have become men, the spirit that captivated their youthful fancy has been put into practical operation on the passengers of the Eureka stage coach.  Now, as then, Posey appears to have been the captain.

27 January 1881, Peirce City Weekly Empire

At a special term of the Barry county circuit court, convened at Cassville on the 13th instant, indictments were presented against Perry Martin, alias Wm. Lewis, alias Canada Bill (who was considered the leader of the gang), W. H. Saunders and H. W. Posey.  Perry Martin was tried seperately and after about three days consumed in his trial, the jury found him guilty, and assessed his punishment at twelve years in the Penitentiary.  The Cassville Republican says the State not being ready to proceed in the cases of Saunders and Posey, their cases were continued to the next regular term in March.


A notice of the trial and conviction of one of the mail robbers, at Cassville last week, is given elsewhere.  Soon after the robbery occured a reward was offered by many citizens in the southwest, the citizens of Peirce responding very liberally.  Well, when everybody had desponded of ever learning any further of those who committed the deed, Frank Erskine, detective for the St. Louis and San Francisco railway, was tracing and chasing, and after several months of labor and a liberal expenditure of money got the scent, and finally arrested one in this State, one in Kansas and the other in Texas, and the result is as stated.


At the March 1881 term of the Barry County Circuit Court W. H. Saunders was sentenced to 10 years in the penitentiary for this robbery and H. W. Posey to 3 years. Peirce City Weekly Empire 31 March 1881.

In September, 1882, the stage between Seligman and Eureka Springs was robbed again.  For details, see Part II.   Beginning February 1, 1883, the Frisco began running a train between Seligman and Eureka Springs.  Carthage Banner 25 January 1883.

9 December 1880, CarthageBanner

Shooting Affray.

The water tank on the Arkanas division of the St. L & S. F. R. R. at Washburn station is about a mile and a half on this side.  It seems a lot of roughs have been in the habit of jumping on the train and riding down to the tank.  In the course of time this free and easy method of apropriating the train to their pleasure grew monotinous to the train officials and last Friday they ran by the tank without stopping, carried the roughs to Exeter and collected fare.  On Saturday when the train stopped at the tank some fellow came out of the brush, raised the whoop and fired into the passenger coach with a shot gun.  Immediately afterward a whole volley was fired into the coach by a gang of rascals who were hid in the brush.  One man was wounded and the coach was riddled with bullet holes.  Search was at once instituted for the villains and two of them were caught and lodged in jail in Cassville.  The longest possible term in the Penitentiary should be their reward, and we doubt not will be, as no more reckless piece of villainy could be attempted than that of shooting promiscuously into a coach loaded with women and children.  It is due to the brave Conductor to say that with a single musket he drove the devils away.

9 December 1880, Peirce City Weekly Empire

Shot Guns and Pistols.
Bad Boys in Barry.

A bold attack was made on the train near Washburn on Saturday last by a half dozen or more reckless roughs.  It appears that on Friday a passenger was carried some 5 miles beyond where he wanted to get off, by the train not stopping to take water as had been the custom.  This did not suit the passenger, and as he was inclined to have trains run to his convenience, a half dozen or more were concealed near the water tank at Bradley's mill on Saturday.  The engine was cut loose from the train, and the war whoop raised, and the ruffians came from their consealment and made for the train.  The engine was again attached and as the train moved off they let fire at the coach, which was spotted with turkey shot as bad as a Christmas target.  Mr. G. W. Wilson of this city was standing on the rear platform of the car and received one shot in the left leg about thigh [high], he emptied a revolver, but with what effect, is not known.  A gentleman bound for Eureka received two or three shots, but was scared more than hurt.  We are told two of the party were captured and lodged in jail.

16 December 1880, Peirce City Weekly Empire

13 Captured in a Row!
Barry County Shootists in

The particulars of the recent shooting into the mail train at Bradley's mill, about two miles this side of Washburn, on the Arkansas division, have already been give in these columns.

Two of the parties were captured, placed in the hands of local authorities and Monday last set as the day for trial before a J. P. at Washburn.

Frank Erskine, detective for the Frisco worked up the case, and planned the mode of procedure.  U. S. Marshal C. C. Allen, and deputy Houghawout were on hand Monday.  The witnesses for the state were called, then witnesses for the Defense took their stand in an opposite row and answered to the call, when Marshal Allen stepped in between and announced his official position and announced that the one side were prisoners, and the other his posse.  Thirteen persons were made prisoners at the one command.  So complete a surprise was never witnessed in these parts.  The Marshal, deputies, lawyers and witnesses arrived in this city on the evening train, and were taken to Carthage by a special Monday evening.  The prisoners will have a preliminary examination at Kansas City.  Following are the names of the prisoners:  D. B. Bradley, W. H. Erwin, J. D. Erwin, W. S. Erwin, James B. Erwin, G. W. Arrowd, T. B. Farris, Henry Thornberry, W. S. Wilson, J. M. Tootbee, Jas. Carin and Wm. Thomas.

Barry County Crime And Punishment Part II:  1881-1899.

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